Nutrition 101

Food affects almost everything we do. It affects how we look, feel, and act. It even affects our abilities – how well we function every day. Food has an impact on life because it supplies nutrients, which are substances in food that body needs to function properly such as in growing, in repairing itself, and in having supply of energy.


Nutrition is both a pure science and a social science. As a pure science it looks at how the body uses nutrients. As a social science it looks at the relationship between food and human behavior and the environment, or how and why people eat.

A food Calorie is actually a kilocalorie, which is equal to 1000 calories. Calorie is useful in comparing the energy available from different foods when we are deciding what food to eat. For example, a small apple contains only 80 Calories, while a slice of apple pie contains almost 350 Calories.

Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provide energy and perform other important functions. We need energy for all activities. When our body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, energy is released: calories.

Carbohydrates:  Athletes are not the only people who need carbohydrates. Everyone needs them. Carbohydrates are the sugars and starches found in foods. They are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. There are two general types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.

Simple Carbohydrates are the different forms of sugar, which are easy for the body to process. These sugars are fructose and glucose (found in fruits and vegetables, lactose (found in milk), and sucrose (refined and purified to produce table sugar). The most important to the body is glucose – the form of the sugar that goes directly to the bloodstream and provides quick energy. All other sugars must be changed into glucose by the body before the cells can use them. The cells use glucose as their primary source of energy. Glucose that is not needed immediately is converted by body to glycogen, a form of starch stored in the muscles and liver, or it is converted to and stored as body fat.

Complex Carbohydrates: Starches are complex carbohydrates that are made up of many units of glucose or other sugars, which form long chains. These chains must be broken down by the body into single units of glucose before they can be used. Starches take longer than sugars to be broken down into glucose. Starches provide energy to the body over longer periods than do simple sugars. Breads, cereals, pasta, and potatoes contain starch. Dietary Fiber is another complex carbohydrate, which comes from non-digestible part of plants. There wo types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber combines with waste and other substances to assist in their removal from the body. (Found in: oat bran, beans, apples, carrots, and other vegetables). Insoluble fiber absorbs water and helps to provide needed bulk to the diet. (Found in: whole grains and the skins and seeds of fruits and vegetables).

Fats (Lipids): Fats are the nutrients that contains the most concentrated form of energy. Fats are type of lipid. Lipids are substances that are somewhat similar to carbohydrates, but they contain less oxygen and they do not dissolve in water. Fat is one of essential nutrients important for properly body function. A small daily intake of fat is required. One gram of fat provides more than twice as much energy as one gram of carbohydrate. Fats are part of many body tissues and are important as carriers of other nutrients, such as vitamins. Fats also carry the flavor of foods – making foods tastier, but consumption of fat should be closely monitored.

Types of Fats: Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. They contain maximum number of hydrogen atoms. Tropical oils, butter, and

animal fats tend to be high in saturated fats. A diet high in saturated fats can lead to an increased chance of heart and blood vessel disease, obesity, and some types of cancer.


Unsaturated fats are those fats that are liquid at room temperature. Olive oil and peanut oil are called monounsaturated fats because they lack one pair of hydrogen atoms. Fish oils and most vegetables oils, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils, are called polyunsaturated fats because they lack two or more pairs of hydrogen atoms.

Cholesterol: Eating foods high in fats, especially saturated fats may increase the level of cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance produced by body. Cholesterol is part of cell membranes and nerve tissues. It is used by body to form vitamin D and other hormones. It is found only in foods that come from animals, such as butter, eggs, and meats. It is not an essential nutrient because the body produces cholesterol in liver. As cholesterol levels in the body increase, the risk of heart and artery diseases increase. Some of the cholesterol tends to be deposited on the walls of the arteries, thereby reducing the flow of blood to the cells supplied by those arteries.

Two Forms of Cholesterol: Cholesterol is transported in the blood in two forms. LDL (a lipoprotein of blood plasma that is composed of a moderate proportion of protein with little triglyceride and a high proportion of cholesterol and that is associated with increased probability of developing atherosclerosis : bad cholesterol) is the “bad” form that tends to deposit cholesterol on the walls of the blood vessels. HDL (a lipoprotein of blood plasma that is composed of a high proportion of protein with little triglyceride and cholesterol and that is correlated with reduced risk of atherosclerosis : good cholesterol ) is the “good” form that removes cholesterol from the cells and brigs it back to the liver and intestines to be recycled or excreted.
Exercise has been proven to raise HDL, low-fat diets lower LDL. Come see a FHENS Trainer to assist you with a proper aligned exercise program.

Proteins are substances found in every cell. The body needs proteins to build and repair all body tissues. Protein is an important part of blood cells. Proteins are made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms that are formed into basic units called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids. Nine of them are essential, and the other eleven amino acids can be produced by the body.

Nutrients that Regulate: Vitamins, minerals, and water are nutrients that work with the energy providing nutrients to be sure that the body functions properly. Water is the most vital nutrient because it provides the means for all other nutrients to be carry throughout the body. Eating a variety of foods in the right amounts is usually all that is needed to get daily supply of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins, minerals, and water are not digested by our body, and they do not provide Calories. Instead vitamins, minerals, and water are released from

foods we eat and are absorbed by the body’s tissues. They work with carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to promote growth and regulate body processes.

Vitamins: Some diseases can develop because of lack of a particular vitamin. Vitamins are compounds found in living things and are needed in small amounts for life and growth and to prevent diseases. Vitamins help build bones and tissues, and they also help change carbohydrates and fats into energy. Because the body cannot make most vitamins, they must be supplied by the foods we eat.

Minerals are simple substances found in the environment that are essential to the body’s functioning. Minerals are used to regulate a wide range of body processes, from bone formation to blood clotting, and they are important for the body structure. Most minerals are either quickly used or lost in waste products, therefore we must eat mineral rich foods daily to replenish our supply. Iron is an exception –it tends to be kept and recycled by the body, except when there is a blood loss.


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All rights reserved. A GG Company. Consult your physician regarding the applicability of any recommendations and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. All trademarks, products, and service names are the property of their respective owners.

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